Monday, August 21, 2006

Joseph Hill 1949-2006

This has been a bad year for the loss of important Jamaican artists - Hearwax tipped me off to this and I thought I'd share it with those who haven't heard yet...

KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) _ "Joseph Hill, lead vocalist and songwriter for the traditional "roots'' reggae group Culture, died Saturday. He was 57.

Hill abruptly fell ill and died in Berlin while the group were in the middle of a European tour, according to his daughter Andrea. She did not know the cause of death.

The group's Web site said the band will continue its summer concert tour as a tribute to the smooth-voiced tenor, with Hill's son Kenyatta taking on lead vocals.

One of reggae's most enduring bands, Culture was led by Hill for three decades. Hill penned the group's best known songs, including "Two Sevens Clash,'' "Natty Never Get Weary'' and "I'm Not Ashamed.''

Born in the rural Jamaican parish of St. Catherine in 1949, Hill began his musical career in the late 1960s as a percussionist.

As the Rastafarian influence on reggae grew in the 1970s, he formed Culture and remained its driving force through more than 30 albums.

Hill said "Two Sevens Clash,'' Culture's most influential record, was based on a prediction by Pan-Africanist Marcus Garvey, who said there would be chaos on July 7, 1977, when the "sevens'' met. With its apocalyptic message, the song created a stir in his Caribbean homeland and many Jamaican businesses and schools shuttered their doors for the day.

In 2005, the singer, a devout Rastafarian, was honored by the Jamaican government for his contribution to the island nation's culture.

Andrea Hill, of Kingston, said funeral arrangements for her father had not been scheduled.", this just ruined my day. I got to see Culture live on 2 occassions and because of work wasn't able to make it to their last show when they made it to my area. Again it just reiterates the need for reggae fans to show their support for these veterans and if you've never had the chance to see them live you have to make every effort neccesary to see them when they tour before they're gone. I'm thankful I got to see Mr. Hill and Culture the times I did and I'll always be thankful to him for the decades of beautiful music he's bestowed upon the world. Rest in peace Joseph Hill.

I'm going to share a few of my favorite Culture tunes, taken from various releases, in honor of Joseph Hill. First is from the album Studio One Roots Volume 2 is Joseph Hill solo on a song he would later re-record with Culture called "Behold The Land." Second is the tune "Peace Love And Harmony" from the album Nuff Crisis. Next is "Behold I Come" from the Baldhead Bridge CD. The fourth song is "Natty Dread Nah Run" from the Cumbolo album. "Hand A Bowl" follows that from the album Good Things. Finally I want to leave everyone with one of the prettiest songs I know and one that I feel is a fitting tribute to Joseph Hill's songwriting talents and more importantly exemplifies his love for mankind as a whole, "Love Shine Bright" from the Harder Than The Rest CD.

Joseph Hill Tribute


i said...

nice eulogy reggaexx. i put some stuff up at b.m.p. on sunday when i found out... please pay a visit if you have time. the videos brought a tear to my eye as i was watching them before posting. i was never a huge culture fan... at least not on album, their sound was always a little bit saccharine for my taste, but seeing them live was always a treat and the pure joy that mr. hill seemed to feel while performing was very contagious. you can see it on his face in the videos that i posted. he will be missed, and i too feel blessed to have had the chance to see him live...


Reggaexx said...

Thanks I - I checked out the videos and you're right - it brought a tear to my eye as well.

dubtafari said...

I cannot believe what I am reading.
Joseph Hill and his tender hearted yet powerful messages were truly an inspiration to I n I and many of my bredren. Song after song, verse after verse; especially: "Stop this Fussing and Fighting", a song that not only summed up Jamaica in the late 70's but also sums up the state of the world today.
There have been many a night when a "Culture" song played throughout a very dark and desolate night.
Truly, love shines brighter in the morning.
May Jah bless Joseph Hill,and welcome him;keep him in his Bosom.
Natty never get weary, Trod on to Zion.

Jah Live!!!


Nice tribute, I posted The live album from 1998 on my blog. R.I.P. Joseph Hill.

iniarebel said...

terribly tragic. first desomond dekker and now this. the man brought peace and love to the dancehall but to my heart as well. never get weary natty..never get weary!!

Anonymous said...

SINSEMILLA es una pena para los rasta por esta muerte i quiero acer un llamamiento a todos los rasta acer un minuto de cilencio en memoria de Joseph Hill gracias en donde este por tu contribucion al reggae saludos rasta

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